Speech of French President François Hollande at the forum "Towards COP 21: Civil Society Mobilized for the Climate" [fr]
Manila – Thursday, February 26, 2015
Cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, representatives of organizations that work each day to prevent the irreversible changes to our planet, good afternoon.
I wish to thank Nicolas HULOT for taking this initiative to bring us all here to the Philippines. I am here as part of a state visit, and also to join President Aquino in launching an appeal in a few hours.
Nicolas Hulot is an ambassador for the planet. Laurent Fabius and I thought a lot about that name because “for the planet” represents a major task, and it has now been entrusted to you. The idea was to allow you to travel, in the name of France, to alert the public and the heads of state and government of the urgency of this mission. At that moment, we were not yet certain of whether France would be hosting the climate conference. We had submitted our candidacy, but the mandate had yet to be given. Today, we face this responsibility.
We must now gather heads of state and government, though this is not the most difficult task. To gather the heads of state and government, international organizations, the United Nations, for the conclusion of a binding, universal agreement on the climate – this is the challenge. This is the challenge facing us as the host country, the entire world and its future, and its citizens because it is a matter that concerns the planet, not just the states, governments, institutions, those which you call “leaders.” Without a doubt, these leaders have a major role to play not only because they are elected or appointed, but because they cannot succeed alone. It will take the active participation of all, of major non-government organizations - which I salute and many of which are represented here, companies because they have the technology and the funding, and also the local governments, the legislature, the religious authorities, the entire world must act with us.
We have a few months left to achieve that. A few months is an eternity when you have on your shoulders the responsibilities of a country. These few months may appear to be too far, and yet we have a big responsibility to use the remaining time to convince others that the agreement must be concluded even before December, because this agreement must not be made through secret meetings and negotiations inside a room. It must be prepared step by step, here and there, with those who have to do the preparatory work and to convince the heads of state and government to sign the agreement.
Why are we here in the Philippines? First of all, because we are friends, because it is a country that France had always supported, and because it is a country that can show the world what climate change is.
Yet there are scientific experts who have made all the demonstrations, who have shown all the information, such as Jean JOUZEL, the vice-president of the GIEC, who is among us. They do not elaborate on theories or doctrines. They speak of reality. Today, climate change is a scientific fact. And the GIEC has gone very far, indicating that if we do nothing in the next years, it will not be a global warming of 2 degrees that we will see at the end of the century, but of 3, 4 or 5 degrees. And with consequences such as tsunamis, earthquakes, rising of the sea level, the inexorable loss of biodiversity, and what we know to be the impact of these catastrophes: thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, considerable destruction, the impossibility of living by the sea, disappearance of islands, these are what we already know and what is currently taking place.
What then must we do in Paris in December? First of all, we must conclude an agreement between states for each to provide their contributions in the fight against global warming. It is the sum of all these contributions which will allow us to prevent global warming to go beyond 2 degrees at the end of the century.
Once we have all these contributions, we must develop a universal and binding agreement, country by country, which is for both the developed countries and the poorest countries, the most vulnerable ones. I have no doubt that these vulnerable countries will have bold contributions. I imagine that the countries which are the highest emitters of greenhouse gasses, or carbon, have the heart to demonstrate that they will take on binding commitments. I will not mention these countries, but we know who they are, and fortunately, they have already taken a certain number of steps, but still with no firm commitment. And then there are the poor countries, those that do not emit greenhouse gasses, that do not use carbon, and which have no responsibility in the situation we are currently facing. And yet, these countries are those affected by global warming.
So they ask us, and this is the second objective of COP21, to put into place a fund that will ensure the energy transition in the South, in the poor, fragile and vulnerable countries so that these regions of the world would be able to have investments, energy sufficiency, energy storages, renewable energy, and also a way of living which will be compatible with the planet.
The third objective that we have for Paris 2015 is to have a collective effort from businesses, local communities, regions, cities, NGOs, together with all the ideas, innovations, proposals, all the changes required to preserve the earth. Because that is the slogan: change the world to preserve the planet. It is the collection of these ideas, proposals, innovations, imaginations, which will form the agenda of solutions.
These are the three objectives: a universal and binding agreement for all countries, a strong fund, we are talking of 100 billion dollars each year from 2020, and an agenda of solutions that involves all stakeholders.
And so we have this alliance of Paris, which will be a broad alliance, one which will concern the governments, as well as the NGOs, international organizations, an alliance which will be with businesses, financial institutions, and between citizens. If there is a matter that will bring together all the inhabitants of the world towards a common concern, that is the land. Nobody can deviate from it, nobody can have another future, and I’m not speaking of human time, but another future on the earth. We are all concerned, we are all mobilized, we are all united because we only have one earth, one life.
We should then have this Paris alliance. First of all, it is an alliance for justice – justice between countries, and in this, I speak on behalf of the developed countries. We have, for the past decades, collected enough resources from our planet to assure our growth and prosperity. While leaving so many of the poor at the side, we have damaged the planet so seriously that our first duty must be to put justice to those countries which, by their state of development, have not committed irreversible damage on our earth.
Justice is to have a new mode of development for these countries, a new policy, new transfers. Justice is also between generations. My generation had considerably benefitted from the planet to ensure access to property, services, and transportation. But we also have duties to the generations to come, who would ask us for accountability even if we would no longer be there, and who would ask us: What have you left us with to allow us to live a proper life? This justice is the one that concerns us the most because it is the one that concerns us directly as human beings.
The challenge of the Paris alliance is also one of education, because at the same time that we fight against global warming, we take the keys for the youth to understand what their future will be. That is why one of the ways to be more effective in the fight against climate change is to spread knowledge and information. At this point in time, the fight against climate change is a challenge of democracy. It is an issue of peace. If global warming would continue in the subsequent decades, it is the coming war. It is not simply the catastrophe. It is the catastrophe that will lead to war, and war will intensify the catastrophe.
It is also a cultural issue because of the preservation of our heritage. We have forms of expression of living that we must not simply preserve, but develop and increase. This is why cultural personalities have been involved in this alliance. It is also a question of conscience, of hope, a question of humanity. It is the reason why, whatever their convictions or beliefs, it is good that the principal religious authorities have joined the fight against global warming. I salute Patriarch Bartholomew, who has understood this, and I also think of the speech of the Pope during his visit here to the Philippines.
I would like to end with the appeal that we will be launching with President Aquino. This is an appeal for all, for all countries, a call that is not intended to make a lesson, but a call to simply be a meeting. The meeting in Paris in December 2015 is a call that intends to train, mobilize, and engage. You are all vanguards, and the world is now expected to be aware of its strength. This has been said before me, the world is capable of the best, as well as the worst. Humanity has been able to create or destroy. We are once again facing the decisive choice for our history - where the world turns a blind eye, where the world ignores its future, or where the world acts so that it will once again be victorious in its humanity. This call of Manila is an appeal that goes beyond our two countries. It is a call for humanity. Thank you.